I love how we can discover so many things on social media. I know we all have this fraught relationship with it, but it can also be used for such inspiring things as well. That’s how I found the creator of Petal & Fern, Anna Schellenberg. I was looking at one my favourite shops in Victoria, Little Gold’s Instagram page and they had posted one of Petal & Fern’s pieces and I thought it was so beautiful and unique that I decided to start following Anna. I love discovering creative people in Victoria and talking to them about what they love to do. It can be hard sometimes to reach out to someone you have never met before but through a good friend I received Anna’s email address and we got talking. Although we have never met in person, I was able to interview her and get to know her process more. Please read along to check out how amazing each of her pieces are and how much work goes into them. Check out her Etsy page or contact her through Instagram for custom orders: @petal_and_fern https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ShopPetalandFern
How did you come up with the idea for your business Petal & Fern?
I was walking downtown with my husband one day when I saw through an office building window pressed flowers that were framed and hanging on the wall. I stopped and turned to my husband and said, “Look!” I thought they were so beautiful. I said, “I’m going to make those one day!”
At the time I had just completed my degree in Child and Youth Care and was working in a school. I wasn’t feeling very fulfilled in my work though, and I was looking for a creative outlet. I believe that God saw my aching heart, and gave me the idea to start Petal & Fern.
I remember not being able to sleep that night because I was so excited about the different ways I could preserve flowers. My first idea was to press wedding bouquets, the idea just came to me as I lay awake in bed. The next morning I researched it and found out that I wasn’t the only one who’d come up with that idea. There are a few people preserving wedding bouquets already - mostly in the US.
Before I fully launched myself into the wedding industry I needed to first learn how to press flowers and make a frame. So for the past six months I’ve been pressing flowers and framing them. Practice makes perfect!
What is your process?
First, I took a stain glass class to learn how to cut glass, and use the soldering tools. After some practice I developed a way to make my own custom frames. Every part of my frame is handmade. I cut the glass by hand, then I cut the metal frame and permanently solder it onto the glass. I finish the frame with a chain so they hang beautifully on the wall! It sounds easy but it is actually a very time consuming process. Pressing the flowers is my favourite part. It is incredible to see how the flowers emerge after they have been pressed; some keep their colour and some change completely. I love the excitement of taking them out of the flower press and arranging them gracefully on the glass.
I like to support local businesses, so I buy all my glass and framing materials from a family owned business in Victoria.
All the flowers features in my frames are also local, grown here on Vancouver Island. It is literally like having a piece of Victoria framed and hanging on your wall. I love when people realize how special this is. I have had some clients purchase frames and send them away to their friends or family who don’t live here anymore so they can still have a piece of Vancouver Island with them in their new home in Ontario or Quebec.
Do you make custom orders?
Some of my favourite pieces have been from custom orders! One client brought me a handful of flowers from her family garden, and asked me to make three frames featuring the flowers - one frame for her, one for her mother and one for her grandmother. I thought that was so meaningful and such a beautiful gift idea. I have also had a client bring me pressed lavender that she picked while travelling in Europe and she had pressed it herself. I was so happy to preserve it in one of my handmade frames for her. I would like to be doing more custom orders because I think they are so meaningful.
I love the ideas of preserving not only a physical thing but also a moment or memory like preserving a bouquet that someone special gave to you, or flowers from a birthday, or your grandmother’s garden, or those ferns that you picked on that nature walk with your best friend.
The night my sister gave birth to her first baby girl I ran outside and picked every flower that I could see (and I couldn’t see that many because it was pitch black out!) I pressed the flowers, framed them and gave it to her as a baby shower gift. Now the framed flowers hang in her baby’s nursery. Imagine growing up and having a frame hanging on your wall that is filled with flowers that were picked on the day you were born. How special is that? A moment in time captured. I would love to do that for other expecting mothers.
Where do you see Petal & Fern going?
I feel ready to emerge into the wedding industry. Right now I’m working on a new website that will launch in the New Year. It will feature pieces of past wedding bouquets that I have preserved, as well as prices. I’d love to offer packages if brides want to order custom bridesmaid gifts as well. Right now I am focusing on getting the word out about my services, from preserving wedding bouquets to creating custom frames. So if you know of anyone getting married in the near future please let them know about Petal & Fern! If you’d like to see more of my work, visit me on Instagram: @petal_and_fern
Where can we find your pieces?
Right now you can find my frames for sale in my Etsy shop. I also have a few frames available in Little Gold on Johnson Street in Victoria (@shoplittlegold). I would love to have more local stores carry my frames so if you own a local business please be in touch.
I have had such a positive response towards my work and I want to thank Jennee for reaching out and doing this interview! It feels so great knowing that my community supports local art and small businesses.
Please feel free to check out my Instagram, Etsy shop and to get in touch via email.
Etsy Shop : https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ShopPetalandFern
Thank you so much to Anna Schellenberg, creator at Petal & Fern for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview and be a part of my blog. I think it is so important to support local businesses, especially at this time of year when people can be so overwhelmed with all the consumerism around Christmas. Shop locally this holiday season and support creative people like Anna!